HBO Research Director Tackles Cross-Platform Media Consumption

Lack of Single Source Usage Data, Privacy and Device and Platform Proliferation Vex But Don’t Deter

By Marc Dresner, IIR

Jason Platt Zolov’s daily grind as market research director at HBO would probably overwhelm anyone who isn’t comfortable making sense out of uncertainty.

But that’s the nature of media research today: Platt Zolov manages to deliver reliable insights under challenging market conditions using less than perfect source materials.

In a recent interview with the Research Insighter podcast series, Platt Zolov discussed some of the obstacles he faces and how he’s addressing them.

“Multi-platform usage is really one of our biggest issues,” Platt Zolov told the Research Insighter.

“We know individually how many people tuned in on Sunday night and individually how many people may have clicked on HBO GO or HBO on Demand, but to be able to see how they are moving between those different platforms is something that is very difficult to do,” Platt Zolov said.

“There is also the added layer of tracking all the different devices that people are watching on—mobile phones, tablets, new connected TV experiences with Apple TV and Roku…,” he added.

"There are a lot of privacy issues around trying to link multi-platform usage to HBO loyalty—why people continue subscribing and paying that bill every month."

Without a single source for usage data, Platt Zolov and his colleagues rely on conventional survey instruments and other sources to fill in the gaps, but it isn’t perfect.

And it gets even more complicated when you factor in new, non-traditional competitors like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, which are developing original programming.

In this episode of The Research Insighter podcast series, Platt Zolov discusses:

• Balancing usage with self-reported data
• Privacy concerns related to linking multi-platform and loyalty
• Providing a 360-degree view of viewership in the modern media landscape and more…

Editor’s note:  Jason Platt Zolov will be speaking at the Media Insights& Engagement Conference 2014 taking place January 29-31 in Miami, Florida.

For more information or to register, please visit

Marc Dresner is IIR USA’s sr. editor and special communication project lead. He is the former executive editor of Research Business Report, a confidential newsletter for the marketing research and consumer insights industry. He may be reached at Follow him @mdrezz.
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Marc Dresner

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